One in four U.S. veterans (24%) say they know a service member or veteran who was a victim of sexual harassment, sexual assault, or rape that occurred in the military. Female veterans (60%) are three times more likely than male veterans (20%) to say they know someone who has been victimized under these circumstances.
The Gallup veteran data are based on telephone interviews with 1,268 U.S. adults, aged 18 and older, who identified themselves as veterans in a Gallup Daily tracking survey, and who agreed to be recontacted for future surveys. The survey of veterans was conducted June 16-20 and includes 906 men and an over-sample of 362 women.
To provide a comparative context for these veterans’ reports, Gallup on July 2-3 interviewed 857 Americans in the general population who are not veterans. These non-veterans were asked whether someone they know had been the victim of sexual harassment, sexual assault, or rape by a coworker. Eighteen percent of this non-veteran sample said “yes,” somewhat lower than the 24% of veterans who know a victim of sexual assault, rape, or sexual harassment in the military.
This difference largely reflects the high percentage of female veterans who know a victim from military service. Male veterans (20%) are about equally likely to know a victim in the military as male (17%) and female (19%) non-veterans are to know a victim in the workplace. Although the military is unlike most work environments in the civilian world, comparing the two highlights female veterans’ extraordinarily high level of personal knowledge of a victim.